If you didn't grow up with a lot of money, then you had to find "creative" ways to pinch pennies and save some cash up to buy the things that you really wanted. Maybe you saved bottles and cans and took them to the recycling center outside of your grocery store. During the fall you'd knock on neighbor's doors and offer to rake leaves. In the winter, you'd shovel snow. During spring and summer, maybe you'd offer to clean gutters, help remove clutter, or paint fences and garage doors.
But the frugality doesn't just stop with extra ways to earn money, you could always take things a bit further by trying to get as much free experiences/swag as possible. Maybe you jumped at the opportunity to take hour-long surveys for some free movie screener tickets, or you did what this one ingenuous TikToker did and input different birthdays at hundreds of different restaurants/eateries so you can nab yourself free food every day.
And then if you really wanted to get into the scrimping and saving lifestyle, you could go dumpster diving. There are tons of studies that put the United States as one of, if not the most, wasteful country in the world, and you just know that folks are tossing things that other people might find useful; one man's trash is another's treasure and such.
And if you happen to live next door to a popular Influencer who receives more free swag than they know what to do with, you could find yourself with some sweet product hauls you otherwise would have to shell out a large chunk of change for.
That's something TikTok user @bysham learned for themselves after grabbing a box thrown out by their neighbor.
The mysterious garbage package had tons of beauty products from luxury brands like Anastasia Beverly Hills and L'Occitane. In the clip, Sham says that they fetched all of the upscale swag from their Influencer neighbor, but they didn't mention who they were. Judging from the sheer amount of stuff that they casually threw away, it's probably someone with a sizable following.
"We snuck the box into our apartment. There was so much new product in there," the text overlay in the video reads. In the now-viral clip, Sham did a run-through of the products in the box along with their retail prices: like a $99 Kiehl's Advent Calendar, and a $49 Bad Habit 4-piece Skincare box. There were also lots of other smaller items, like lip balms and Rare Beauty products that all added to the total value of the swag find.
In total the entire box contained about $1,248 worth of product at retail, and with tax factored into the equation (in the state of NY at 8.25%) it came out to a whopping $1,350.
TikTok users who saw the video were flabbergasted that the Influencer would simply put all of this stuff in the garbage.
"That is so wasteful on their part. Thank goodness you found it. If they didn’t want it they could have given it away."
"Why not just put it outside her door with a ‘free’ sign. It’s probably less work than taking out to the trash and less wasteful."
Other folks think that the beauty industry, which is filled with companies talking about sustainability as part of their brand mission, should look to how much free swag they're giving to Influencers as a way of mitigating waste.
"Why do companies give products to influencers who don’t care about or have no need?"
"All these beauty companies talking about sustainability—yet we don’t talk about PR gifts and trash."
Playing Devil's Advocate, there could be a few reasons as to why the Influencer didn't give out the products to others, however. Some companies may explicitly state that the personal PR items are intended solely for personal use and would look down on people handing them out, possibly jeopardizing more free swag in the future. Although it'd be a bad look for a company getting upset with an Influencer for hooking people up with products they couldn't use in the first place.
It's also well known that luxury brands are often some of the most wasteful and generally don't want folks using their products for free as it would hurt the exclusivity of their products, which is what a huge part of their business models are based on: public perception.